If you haven't surrendered yourself to the Lord God yet, then you are still denying him. God is our most fundamental reality and facing up to reality is always the best policy.
Thursday, February 27, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 9, Jesus said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." If you believe that Jesus was of sound mind, then he must have spoken as the Lord God. Essentially, he's saying that he should be the Lord of our life. I'd like to add that the more we let him be our Lord and God, the easier it becomes to take up our cross. When we are able to completely submit ourselves to him, he becomes the one to bear all our crosses. Following Christ is the only way to true freedom.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
In today's Gospel reading of Matthew 6.1-6, 16-18, Jesus teaches that when we give alms, pray, and fast, we should do it all in secret for only the Father to see. In essence, we must not be egotistic, for to be so is to be hypocritical. It becomes clear to me that if we can completely shed our ego, we are well on the way to becoming saints.
Today is Ash Wednesday. I thought about the mercy of God. Psalm 30.3: If you, LORD, keep account of sins, Lord, who can stand? Without mercy, we could be struck dead the moment we sin. But God takes our sinful nature into account and is infinitely merciful. Even if we sin all our lives and repent just before we die, we are saved. (Of course, I am not advocating that you go ahead sin and delay repenting until the last moment, for you cannot fool God.) So, on this Ash Wednesday, I thank my God for his great mercy.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Christ is ever present, waiting to receive us. Yet many who wish to know him better do not readily approach him. Instead, they choose to learn more about him via reading books or listening to others speak about him. Is it because they are not ready to expose themselves to the Lord yet? If you do not go straight to him directly with an open heart, how are you ever going to know him personally?
Monday, February 24, 2020
Communion experience. Peter, James, and John saw Jesus transfigured before their eyes on Mount Tabor. That must have been an awesome experience. Later, the disciples saw Jesus being taken up to heaven—what an inspiring sight it must have been! But I would rather receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist than witness anything as beautiful and amazing as the Transfiguration or the Ascension—that's because in receiving the Holy Eucharist, I get to experience great intimacy with the Lord.
With a beautiful, perfect, and holy Lord like Jesus, it is not good enough to take a thousand little steps trying to get closer to him. Instead, we need to go all out to achieve union with him by letting him do whatever he wishes with us. This is total obedience, the single giant step we need to take to "capture" our beautiful, perfect, and holy Lord.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 9, a man whose son was possessed by a mute spirit pleaded with Jesus, "If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." Jesus said to him, "'If you can!' Everything is possible to one who has faith." It is so good to hear the Lord say this. Faith in God is such a beautiful thing! Achieve union with the Lord and you'll be able to trust in him completely.
Sunday, February 23, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus continued to teach his disciples. Here are some of the things he said I am grouping together. "Offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn back on one who wants to borrow. You have heard said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemies that you may be children of your heavenly Father. So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Jesus indeed practiced what he taught here to the letter when he was on earth. But how can we possibly be so perfect as he is? I do have many questions, for today's evils are quite more sophisticated. There are so many scams out there: are we supposed to let them scam us? People who beg money from you cannot always be trusted, for they fake poverty or work for some crime boss: should we always give or even give more than what they ask for? What if the beggar is actually a drug addict who needs the money to buy his substance? Should we donate to charities that pay their CEOs lavishly? If people want to abort all the babies, should we not resist them? Today, many Catholics have stopped giving money to the Church because they found out how millions and millions of dollars have been paid out to abused victims and for legal defense fees: are they all wrong? Last, if some country decides to take over our country, do we just surrender? The big question: how do we square these teachings of Jesus with the fact that we need to stop and defeat evil? Of course, we need to love everyone and help those who truly need help. At the same time, we don't want to be deceived by evil. I do not have the answer; I only know that the Lord is right. Let's just trust in his mercy and pray that he will not put us to the test.
The worst enemy is one who can endanger your soul. So who is he? Satan? No, because he is powerless if you remain humble in God. Someone in the world? Well, you may have many of them all fighting you in various ways, but they cannot harm your soul if you don't do anything wrong or bad. In reality, your worst enemy is yourself, since only you can choose to stay away from God or to obey or follow him. It's also your choice to let Satan or others influence you or not. Conquer yourself and you'll have conquered all your enemies with God becoming your friend.
Saturday, February 22, 2020
We all feel a special love for our own mother. But our mothers are not perfect. I believe that God has made us so that we yearn for a perfect mother to love. And that mother is Mary, the Mother of Christ our Lord. She has revealed to us that her favorite prayer is the one she instructed St. Catherine Labouré to inscribe on the front of the Miraculous Medal. It reads: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." The Holy Mother promised to obtain many graces for those who wear the medal and request them. You can search for "Miraculous Medal" online and read all about it. How Mary appeared to St. Catherine to ask her to get the medal struck is a beautiful story in itself.
You become aware of God's holy presence, once you attain union with him. So do not ever claim that he is not present. It's not just his presence, it's his holiness that impresses. Being aware of this holiness is sufficient to keep you from sinning, for it is the Lord.
How well do you know Jesus? How personal is your relationship with him? Do you only know him at the intellectual level? To know the Lord well, we need to know him at all levels. We need to understand him, to feel him, and to experience him. Then we'll have a warm, comfortable, and intimate relationship with him. Believe that he is present, body and soul, in the Holy Eucharist, open up and receive him to become one with him. Now you should know the Lord.
Today is the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter. In the first reading from 1 Peter 5, Peter gave good advice to the presbyters. He then told them, "When the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." It made me see that when God rewards us, it is a big deal! Now, the Lord also loves us, appreciates us when we are faithful to him, and gives what's best for us and promises us life eternal when we love him . . . these are all big deals. It's also a big deal to see that he treats us as VIPs.
The 8th of the Ten Commandments: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Very sadly, this is the commandment the mainstream media have been violating for many years, much more so since Trump got elected. As the MSM pretty much align themselves with the liberals on the left, they shamelessly make up stories, spread lies, show false pictures, ignore all the news that would make Trump look good and report anything that could make him look bad, aiming to spin their viewers and audiences. Unfortunately, there are always those who watch and listen exclusively to the fake news, and they get "brainwashed" and become intolerant of anyone who might disagree with them. The leftists even hope that the country will have a recession to make Trump look bad! This is wishing ill of all others for the sake of regaining control and power! Such continuing bearing false witness has succeeded in polarizing our entire country. I truly pity the people of MSM for spewing falsehoods and hate, not realizing that they are playing with fire, for by knowingly violating any of God's commandments you can lose your soul.
Friday, February 21, 2020
Communion thoughts. If our relationship with the Lord is perfect, we shouldn't let how all other things turn out bother us anymore. This is not being cold or selfish; this is what the Lord desires from us. He always wants us to have faith in him and not be anxious about or afraid of anything. Our first order of business is to obey him.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 8, Jesus said to the crowd, "Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it." Jesus had also said, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." It seems that we need to do the exact opposite to achieve what we want. It's the same with making spiritual progress. Instead of struggling hard, we simply abandon ourselves to God. It all comes down to letting God be God.
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Communion experience. The Lord liberated me! This is how it came about. (1) It's all up to me—I let the Lord do whatever he wanted with me. (2) It's all up to God—he liberated me. I gave him the OK and he finished the job. Simple and cool!
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 8, Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" Peter got it right, for he replied, "You are the Christ." Our duty and goal is precisely to make this truth known to all!
Right after Peter said the right thing, he blundered. Jesus told the disciples that he must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this Jesus turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." We are very much like Peter, following our emotion and not discerning the will of God. So, be aware that Satan is always there, prompting us to go against the Lord. And to know God's thoughts, seek to attain union with him.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
How do we overcome temptations, our ego, our fixations or obsessions, our hang-ups, and other human weaknesses? Should we resolve to face them and fight hard by whatever means available? On the contrary, we should not even worry about them. Instead, we should go before the Lord with all the above and rest ourselves in him with great confidence. Again, we go limp in God to let him restore and transform us completely.
From today's Communion antiphon from Psalm 78: They ate and had their fill, and what they craved the Lord gave them. Do you know that if you crave for spiritual food, the Lord will always give it to you without fail? Should you wish to become a saint, it is inconceivable that he would not comply! In fact, he would be so pleased that he'll readily fulfill your wish. After all, nothing is impossible with God, right? By the way, to want to be a saint has nothing to do with pride, for you realize that a saint must remain most humble. So, do not shortchange yourself. Do not miss glorifying God. Crave for the very best spiritually and God shall give it to you without fail!
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Why do I attend Mass daily? To hear a good homily? To hear some good music or singing? To be amidst my brothers and sisters in Christ? The answer to all three questions is no. My only reason for attending Mass is to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist so that I may remain as one with him.
In Nazareth, Jesus' native place, he did not perform many mighty deeds because the local people lacked faith in him. Similarly, we do not experience God's wonders if we do not expect much from him. I can tell you that if we put all our faith in the Lord, that is, he becomes totally real to us, we shall never cease to experience his wonders!
Monday, February 17, 2020
In Matthew 7.21, Jesus said to his disciples that only those who do the will of his Father in heaven would enter the kingdom of heaven. To do the will of the Father always is to respond to him alone, making his voice the foremost one in our life. We neither look up to nor down on whatever good counsel we hear from others; we only want to be sure that we do the will of the Lord. This is a fundamental rule to which we must adhere. Last, I must mention that the way to knowing the will of the Father is to know Jesus well, for they are one.
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Here's an insight I received after taking Holy Communion. It's something pretty obvious. I call it an insight only because it came to me clearly and rather acutely this time.
The Lord God knows everything about me, everything. So if I live the best possible life, remaining pure, obeying him always, and doing everything for his glory, I shall surely be rewarded with seeing him in heaven and more. It is all logical, and true. (To be lost is easy; to be saved is not hard if you know God.)
Communion experience. I receive the Holy Eucharist. I realize that it is more precious than anything else, for it's the Lord. In fact, it is even more precious than my own soul, for without the Lord, I would not be able to save my soul.
Saturday, February 15, 2020
We follow Christ and experience freedom, peace, and great joy. These are the gifts which can only come from him. So not only he is the way and the truth and the light (John 14.6), it is equally valid to say that he is our freedom and our peace and our joy.
I still remember the time I first came across Thomas à Kempis' spiritual classic The Imitation of Christ. I felt uncomfortable reading it, for spiritually I wasn't there yet! But it's all different now. After knowing Christ the Lord in person so well, who turned out to be the most awe-inspiring being there ever could or would be, nothing "intimidates" me anymore. For to know God is to know all you need to know, and to possess God is to possess everything.
The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity, is the God in action. He draws you to him, makes you fall in love and want to be one with God. He speaks to and creates joy in your heart. And, of course, the Holy Spirit sanctifies you and keeps you holy. Yes, he warms your soul and sets your heart afire for God with love. With him dwelling in you, your life becomes most rewarding and exciting.
"God loves you"—I am sure you have heard this said many times already. But how do you know that it's true, for you do not really feel it? You can rationalize, pointing out the many good things that have happened to you, but you still would like to see some kind of proof. Well, do you ever think that the reason might be that you are not open to God? If the sun is shining brightly outside and you keep your eyes closed inside the house, of course you wouldn't see that it exists. With God, if your heart is wide open and receptive to him, you shall know that he loves you as sure as the sun exists. When God reveals something to you, you'll know that it's true, for God is the truth.
Friday, February 14, 2020
At Mass this morning, I heard "May God give us guidance" said in the Prayer of the Faithful. I thought that if we were not open to God, this would be a wasted prayer. It would be better to pray "May we be open to God's guidance." Best yet, since God always knows what we need, we only need to pray "May we always be open to God." If we are wide open to God, offering no resistance whatsoever to whatever he wants to give us, surely he'll give us exactly what we need.
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Anyone with a big ego is like a hot air balloon. He is all puffed up looking big, but is only a bag of hot air. The cool person to me is the one who is humble without any ego. Looking at all the humble persons, I must say that Jesus has to be the coolest one. He is God, yet he became a slave to us. Philippians 2.6-8: Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Even though he has all the power, he never ever uses it to showed off. He is the Lord, yet he never forces us to follow him. He simply reveals the truth to us, allowing us to make the decision. How cool that is! This is one big reason I follow and adore him.
It's easy to pray for others. In public or at Mass, we pray for the world, our government, our church, our friends, etc. O yes, we also pray for God's blessings on us, but never that we open ourselves up to him or yield to him. Even in private, we rarely do that. Here, ignoring yourself is really being self-centered. In Matthew 7.3, Jesus taught his disciples not to judge others and asked, "Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?" Before praying for others, we should also notice our own shortcomings and imperfections. Since we are most important to God, we should be most important to ourselves too. To change the world, we need to change ourselves first, for the imperfect cannot help the imperfect. Therefore, pray for yourself first for the sake of God and others! When we become perfect, the world becomes perfect.
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 7, Jesus said to his disciples that what comes out from within a man, from his heart, is what defiles him. As examples, he mentioned evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, Blasphemy, arrogance, and folly. The fact is that God can thoroughly cleanse our heart and keep us holy. That's why seeking union with God is not just a choice, but a must for us. It's getting defiled without God or staying clean with God.
We have many successful business entrepreneurs who have become billionaires today. They are ambitious and they work hard. By their own choice, they have succeeded in their own way in this world. We can also make a choice. Since we are all going to God after our limited time on earth, the wisest choice for me is clearly to follow Christ to store up riches in heaven while on earth. Then our eternity will be secured. This is being foresightful and smart, not to mention the peace and freedom that will accompany you on your way.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Forgiving others is difficult for most of us, especially if the person who has hurt us is also evil. Nevertheless, God understands that as finite beings, our mercy is also finite. We may wish to forgive an "enemy," yet our feelings may still remain negative. Here is a test for you. If God comes to you to ask for your permission to forgive that enemy of yours, would you say yes or no to the Lord? If you can say and answer yes, you pass the test. (BTW, had you said no, you would have been condemned by God for judging others.)
This posting segues from the previous one. We get so many little pieces of advice from so many sources on how to get close to God. If you put all of them down on paper, you'd have a long, long list of do's and don't's. Besides, many of such messages are hardly memorable. So what's the productive way to reach God? Once again, the answer is to surrender yourself to achieve union with God. Then you'll automatically know what you should do and what you should not do, with no need of memorizing anything. So, to reach God, go directly for him.
Today's response from Psalm 84: How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God. Our dwelling place is really the Lord himself. We want to dwell in him! The second half of today's Communion antiphon from Psalm 107: The Lord satisfies the thirsty soul, and the hungry he fills with good things. Again, it's the Lord himself who satisfies our thirst and hunger. The Holy Eucharist does the job. When we seek union with God, it is to be one with God himself, not the gifts we receive from him. Don't "shortchange" yourself. Go for the Lord God, all of him. Once you have him, you receive all the gifts he has for you as well.
Monday, February 10, 2020
We've ignored Christ and are no longer aware of his teaching that to be great, we must serve others (Matthew 20.26). It turns out that to be a lowly servant to others is in fact our highest calling, for he promised that he would exalt all those who humble themselves.
To follow the Lord spiritually, you must get to know him, for it's impossible to grow spiritually if you do not know him. And it is impossible to know him if you do not get close to him. So the way to follow God best is to surrender ourselves to him to become one with him, then we'll know him inside out most intimately.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 6, Jesus came to Gennesaret and people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak and be healed. Being human, we all want to be healed physically, but not so much spiritually. When you look at the world today, everyone wants to push their own agenda; they couldn't care less about the will of God. We always get the priorities wrong! No wonder the world is always in a mess.
Sunday, February 9, 2020
I just saw a video telling you how to focus on Jesus by reading certain prayers. There are many suggested ways or methods out there. But you cannot beat going straight to the Lord; it's simple and direct. Your goal should be to attain union with God, beyond merely focusing on him. In union, you get all the support you need from the Lord himself, so much superior than reading books, attending conferences . . . in general, learning from someone else. So go heart to heart with God and not let anything stand between you and God, and he will reveal all his thoughts and ways to you. This is the endearing and most efficient way of knowing God. In a way, you don't have to do anything to know him. Like Mary the sister of Martha in Luke 10, just sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him speak.
Saturday, February 8, 2020
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all in each other, for they are one as God. This perfect oneness or union has existed from the very beginning (if there ever was one). We become one with God, as we submit ourselves to the Lord completely—it is the union between the creator and his creatures. Due to our sinful nature, it is not perfect, but it's the best we can attain on earth. This union creates an intense longing for God in us, as we yearn to perfect our union with him in heaven. For all faithful Christians, the best is yet to come.
We have all kinds of needs. If they are spiritual, the Lord would most readily fulfill them without fail. After all, our soul has to be his most urgent concern. If you truly wish to be saved from sin, he shall save you. If you truly desire to be holy, he shall turn you into a saint. Have no doubt!
Friday, February 7, 2020
We are constantly advised or encouraged by others to love God, to trust in him, etc. But if we do not open up to him, there can be no progress. Letting ourselves go in God is the prerequisite here! If I sound like a broken record, please forgive me, for it is the truth. We cannot make ourselves holy, period. If God can make us holy, then let him do it. Depend upon the Lord in all things, always!
It's not good enough to go to confession after you sin, again and again. It just gets tedious and discouraging. You want the Lord to take away your tendency to sin as well! And you can make this happen by letting him take over. You simply surrender yourself to him and he'll make you holy.
The soul is our most essential, fundamental entity. It was realized by God, given to us, and became everlasting. Remain with God and we'll be everlastingly happy. Stray away from him and we'll be everlastingly miserable. Our mind and heart are here to help us discern and make that choice. We should treasure and safeguard our soul, as it is so loved by and so precious to God our Father and creator.
There are people who want everything to be done perfectly. Naturally, they are critical of others who are not so perfect by their standards. Of course, it would be nice that everyone or everything is perfect, but that's forgetting that only God is perfect. Such critical people can greatly benefit from realizing that they themselves are imperfect and should strive to perfect themselves first. It's most satisfying and exciting to discover that God can actually make you holier and more perfect. Besides, when you become more perfect, you become more tolerant of others who are not so perfect, and you enjoy more peace. So, perfect yourself first to be perfect.
Thursday, February 6, 2020
I am showing a Fr. Mark Goring video again. This one was uploaded to YouTube today. I like his messages because he is Spirit-filled and speaks to the point from his heart. Today he hit the nail on the head again. The tragedy is that we know or were at least told that the Holy Spirit dwells in us, but we do not feel his presence and power because we have not surrendered ourselves totally to him yet. So the Holy Spirit is in us, but not yet completely of us, as we still belong at the least partially to the world.
Communion experience. There is absolute security in the Lord. When your soul is secured by him, you are indeed secure. Now you live a God-centered life. You desire to please and glorify him alone, and you are indeed free. There is no better position to be in.
You can do all the right things, but if your motivation is not pure, you accomplish nothing. So it all comes down to how holy you are, not how you follow all the rules or look right before others. Remember that God only needs to look into your heart and at your soul.
In Luke 22.28-30, today's Communion antiphon, Jesus said to his disciples at the Last Supper, "It is you who have stood by me in my trials and I confer a kingdom on you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom." Stand by the Lord and our reward will be greater than we can possibly imagine. I also know that God is more beautiful and heaven more glorious than we can possibly imagine. Interestingly, accounts by those who died and came back to life reveal that on the other side without the physical body, their senses and awareness became even sharper than ever. Reading the accounts of those who had been given the privilege of seeing hell by God, we can be sure that suffering in hell is also more horrible than we can possibly imagine. Be good and God will surprise you. Be evil and he'll shock you.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 6, Jesus sent the Twelve out to preach repentance. He prepared and instructed them. This he said to them: "Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them." I was struck by it. I see that when Jesus preached to others, he never force it onto them; he simply proclaim the truths and let you make up your mind so that if you believe, you'll have faith. One big mistake unbelievers make is thinking that God should come to them to reveal himself to them or even beg them to believe in him, while their hearts remain closed. They do not realize that you'll find God only if you are humble enough to be willing to go to him first. Christ is ready for us; you either take it or leave it.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Today's Communion experience. I felt what Jesus said in Matthew 13.12: To those who have, more will be given and he will grow rich. The Lord has been blessing me spiritually nonstop, drawing me deeper and deeper into him every time I receive him in the Holy Eucharist. I feel that I am now richer than all the world's richest put together!
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
If you just attend your parish church, and hear the routine prayers said for the Pope, the bishops, and our Church at Mass, everything appears to be normal. But the truth may be far different from what you think. Here is a video all Catholics must watch, for we may very well be in end times. [You might have heard about the prophesies Saint Malachy (1094-1148) made about the Popes. He started with Pope Celestine II of his time and prophesied about 111 future Popes in succession, covering a total of 112 Popes. Interestingly, Pope Benedict was #111, so could Francis be our last Pope?]
Today the Lord made me see that he is the perfect judge, for he has made all of us, knows us through and through, and understands our hearts perfectly. We simply do not meet any of these qualifications and should not judge anyone. Our role is to do our best to pray for others, testify to them what God has done for us, and leave the rest to him who loves us all. To trust in God is to trust in his mercy and judgment.
Today's Gospel reading from Mark 5 tells about Jairus' daughter and the woman with a hemorrhage. The woman afflicted with hemorrhages had heard about Jesus. She went up behind him in the crowd and touch his cloak, saying to herself, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be healed." She was immediately healed. Jesus, aware that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?" The woman, realizing what had happened, came forward, fell down before Jesus, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction." Let me repeat this part of what Jesus had said: your faith has saved you.
Jairus was a synagogue official. He came to Jesus to plead with him to save his daughter who was at the point of death. Jesus went off with him. Then the woman with the hemorrhage appeared and interrupted his journey. After curing her, while he was still speaking, people from the house of Jairus arrived and said, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?" Disregarding the message, Jesus said to Jairus, "Do not be afraid; just have faith." He did continue on to Jairus' house and raised the girl back to life. The central message of Jesus' saying here is again about faith: Do not be afraid; just have faith. You can say that this is easily said than done, but it is the key to living in God. If your faith is perfect, you would believe in God totally and have no room for fear, anxiety, or worry anymore. The only way to perfect our faith is to let God do it for you, and the only way to let him take over is to surrender yourself completely to him. We just have to go through the Lord!
Monday, February 3, 2020
I am used to hearing Jesus speaking to me in my heart ever since I started blogging. Last night after I got in bed, he gave me a thought to post. Normally, I would jot down the idea so I won't forget; but this time I was too sleepy and made it a point to post it first thing this morning. Unfortunately, today I can't recall it. This had happened to me once before, and I felt bad about it. Now I again feel I have lost something most personal. From now on, I want to make sure that I do not forget whatever the Lord wishes me to do. Lagging behind in following him can make one feel awful—you almost feel as if you have lost the Lord.
Sunday, February 2, 2020
Back in the old days, I could easily count all the models of cars made by GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Today you have countless models made by a great number of companies worldwide, including super expensive and fast cars of which many hope to own one. The thing is driving any of these super cars won't get you a centimeter closer to heaven. (I am not trying to be funny.) Of course, there are many other things in the world that can give us pleasure as well. What I hope is we would not ever hear the Lord say to us "You have already received your reward"! Personally, I'd rather receive any reward coming to me later in heaven. Then heaven itself is already our best possible reward. In any case, reject any reward that does not get you any closer to heaven. If you don't, you may end up receiving all you reward on earth.
Yesterday I blogged that there is no limit to how holy we can be. The is the same as saying that there is no limit to how close we can get to knowing God, as he is infinite in every way. We can surrender to him as best as we can, but only he can perfect that union. Finding God is exciting enough. Discovering that we can get to know him more and more without end makes it even more exciting!
Saturday, February 1, 2020
Today's Gospel reading from Mark 4 tells how Jesus calmed a storm at sea. I came home after Mass and saw Fr. Mark Goring's new video "Tough Times Ahead." He applies the lesson he learned from this reading to handling the tough situation the Church has put us in today.
Communion experience. The soul is even more fundamental than the heart. That the Lord would enter me and heal my soul, making it whole and perfect, was both overwhelming and rewarding. He may not always heal us physically, but he'll always help us spiritually as much as we want him to. Living the spiritual life is exciting precisely because there is no limit to how holy you can be.
Attended morning Mass today. Another day to live. As always there are various mundane affairs to take care of, but it's another day to live for Christ to store up even more treasures in heaven! And it's also a day closer to seeing my most beloved in heaven face to face.
Friday, January 31, 2020
Communion experience. Here I am, a finite creature who is powerless to save himself, placing himself entirely in the hands of the infinite God, his creator and Savior. It is truly a momentous moment when the two become one or solidify their union. 😇😇😇
- Most of the world does not realize that we are so loved by God that he sent his only Son to die for us in order to save us from sin. If we are aware that we all are this precious to God, we would want to be less self-centered and treat everyone else with a lot more respect and love.
- We do not realize that God desires that we all become saints and that he can make this easily happen if we cooperate.
Because of these two nonrealizations, we have turned our world into a mess.
Thursday, January 30, 2020
If you and the Lord are not in each other yet and you wish to call on or pray to him, you just go or travel to him somewhere outside of you. And when you expect to hear from him, you expect to hear his voice coming to you externally in some way to reach your heart. But if you are in union with the Lord, you only need to turn to your own heart where he is dwelling to talk to him and hear him speak to you from your heart too. No traveling necessary, great intimacy and honor, and so very cool!
Today's Gospel reading came from Mark 4. I was impressed by verse 25 in which Jesus said to his disciples, "To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." This is a beautiful, simple but profound statement, and it is so true and very cool. The Lord has given the formula for success to us here. It's saying that the spiritually rich will eventually inherit everything, while the spiritually poor will eventually lose everything. It comes down to that if you have God, you have everything, and if you don't, you have nothing.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 4, we heard the parable of the sower. A large crowd gathered around Jesus and he taught them in parables. He said to them that a sower went out to sow, and only the seed that fell on rich soil produced fruit, yielding thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold. Later he explained that the sower sows the word and those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold. The Lord made me see that the best way to become rich soil to bear fruit for him is to let him enter deep into us, allowing him to plant the seed right within our heart.
When you hear the word "servant," you conjure up someone lowly and without glamour. But it all depends upon the master you serve. If you serve the Devil, I suppose you might gain fame and become glamorous, but in the end you lose even your soul. Then you can serve science and technology, art or music, or money. Certainly we all more or less serve ourselves, as it's so easily done. But all these masters "aim" to enslave us. At the other extreme, you can serve the Lord God. If you remain faithful, he will treat you as a friend or his child, loving and taking care of you forever. So to be a servant is fine, as long as you choose the right master. And there is no better master to serve than your God, the God of Christ.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Suppose you drive and hit someone. The worst that could happen would be that the victim is maimed for life. Now suppose that you commit a sin which in turn causes others to fall away from God. This is a lot more serious, as other souls are affected. My point is that think twice before you sin, for you could cause others to fall away from the Lord, making your sin a lot graver than you might think.
There are more things that distract us from God than ever. Traveling in some countries abroad, whether you are riding in a subway car or on a street bus, you see most passengers playing a game, watching a show, or communicating with someone on their mobile phone. Back home, people eagerly check out new car models packed with tech features and speculate what the next generation of iPhones will be like. Who would have thought not too long ago that today you can order just about anything (even coffins) from Amazon online and get it delivered to your front door in one or two days? Science and technology have made this world more exciting, but all these material accomplishments have taken our attention away from God, turning God almost into an afterthought. The spiritual warfare continues on and the casualties will be high. To turn the tide, we need to wake up, join the Lord, and fight hard for him. For Christians, it's do-or-die time.
Today is the Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas. In the Gospel reading from Mark 3, Jesus said to the people, "Whoever does the will of my God is my brother and sister and mother." It tells me that doing the will of God supersedes all earthly family relationships and makes us members of his heavenly family. I also see that in God's family, we all become equally God's children.
Before Mass began this morning, I felt great peace in the Lord—such a wonderful way to start the day. Peace is God's precious gift to us. Two others came to my mind—they are wisdom and understanding. Wisdom is knowing what is true and what is false, and understanding is knowing the Lord's will. Of course, there are many other beautiful gifts to us. Naturally, the greatest of all of them is the Lord himself. If we possess him, we possess all his gifts for us as well. All the more we need to seek to attain union with him!
Yesterday I blogged about the unforgivable sin. Jesus said all sins and all blasphemies that people utter would be forgiven them—this is pretty amazing that these sins will be forgiven if you repent of them. I see the Lord being forever patient: he is always there, waiting for us to turn to him to say "I am sorry for having offended you" and ready to forgive us and take us back. It's us paying the Lord hardly any attention most of the time vs. him waiting for us to acknowledge his existence all of the time.
Monday, January 27, 2020
In today's reading from Mark 3, Jesus also said to the scribes, "How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And it a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him." Today we have the motto: "United we stand, divided we fall." My thoughts are if we unite ourselves with God by attaining union with him, then we'll gain maximum strength and be able to stand with the Lord forever!
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 3, the scribes spoke of Jesus as being possessed by Beelzebul and believed that it's by the prince of demons that he drove out demons. Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin." Jesus said this, for the scribes had said that he had an unclean spirit. Not to believe in the Lord is one thing; but apparently, to accuse the Holy Lord of being in cahoots with the Evil One is going too far. This is something we should never ever allow to cross our mind.
From today's entrance antiphon taken from Psalm 96: In the presence of the LORD are majesty and splendor, strength and honor in his holy place. God's majesty, splendor, power, and grandeur absolutely surpass what we can possibly imagine. We'll have to wait until we see him face to face to get the full impact. Here is one more exciting reason for us to go to him: to see how he truly exceeds all our expectations.
Sunday, January 26, 2020
We can participate in all kinds of activities to get to know God, but if our heart is not in them, we simply go through the motion and fail to get any closer to God. Again, the fast track to go to the Lord directly to give him your heart. From then on, you'll be with God and only need to follow your heart that belongs to him.
I dreamed early this morning that I lost something very important and panicked. Since dreams reflect our life experiences, the fact that we all have nightmares is proof that our life experiences are not always that good. PersonalIy, I am looking forward to going to heaven to be with God forever. To not want to leave this world is pitiful. To leave with great sadness is not good enough either. If you know that your Father is waiting for you to return to him like the father in the parable of the lost son, then you would want to leave this world in great joy and triumphantly as you return to him!
Saturday, January 25, 2020
For the first time, a sitting president spoke at a pro-life rally and that was President Trump speaking at March for Life in DC yesterday. The crowds were bigger than ever and the presence of the younger generation was noticeable. (At my church, usually one bus was enough to take all members to the Walk for Life in San Francisco. Today, two full buses took off this morning.) The cheering and exuberance during Trump's speech were awesome. In case you missed the talk, catch the highlights in this eight-minute video provided by Life Site News.
Yesterday the March for Life took place in Washington D.C. Today it's the Walk for life on the West Coast in San Francisco. These are the world's two largest pro-life events. I'll always remember this quote I came across: "Everyone who supported slavery was free. Everyone who supports abortion was born. And that, my friends, is how oppression works." If God had made us so that aborting a child would also kill the mother, I am sure no one would talk about abortion anymore. Since the unborn are totally defenseless on their own, they become the targets of oppression.
Another thought. You can say that the pro-abortionists play God by taking the lives of the unborn into their hands. Of course, God would never do what they do. So more accurately, they play the Devil, for they do exactly his work.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 16, the Resurrected Lord appeared to the eleven and commissioned them to go into the world to proclaim the gospel to every creature. He said to them, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned." I am struck by the severity of the second half of this saying. It it is true, the majority of us today will be condemned. Perhaps this is justified because God's mercy is so great. But as long as we do believe, we won't have an issue. This is good enough for me.
Today is the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle. As you know, Paul started out as a leading persecutor of those who followed Jesus. And he was converted by tho Lord in a most dramatic way. What a blessing! Our conversions may not be so dramatic, but every conversion is a great blessing. How you are converted matters less; it's whether you are converted or not. Cradle Catholics need to experience an interior conversion too if they are to serve the Lord effectively. Our highest goal should be to attain union with God to complete the ultimate conversion.
Paul writes in Galatians 2.20, "I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me." We must all be aware that the Lord loves us and has given up his own life on earth for us! We are very special and must respond to him in some way if we are humane at all.
Friday, January 24, 2020
God has a plan for each one of us, whether you know it or not. To learn about his plan, we must be open to him, for we can do nothing without him (John 15.5). There is a role for us to play in life, and to play it right, we must let God direct us. Today's Communion antiphon, John 15.16: It was not you who chose me, says the Lord, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will last. To let the Lord choose us to go and bear fruit, again, we need to open ourselves to him.
If we can relate to God perfectly, we'll be able to relate to everyone and everything in the world perfectly too. If not, we mess up our lives. It's that simple. Start with God first to get everything else right, for he who made us knows us best. Let him be your teacher or better yet, your soulmate, then you'll live the most rewarding life on earth.
The God of Christ is always open to us. If we do not feel his presence or hear his voice, that's because we are not not completely open to him! We are the ones to blame! If you are truly open to him, 100%, you will know him to be the Lord and the truth with absolute certainty, for he is the one revealing everything to you. Then you are set free forever!
Thursday, January 23, 2020
If Christ is real to you, then you should live as if he is present with you at all times. So if you are still not completely open to him, not willing to let him know everything about you, then you are still running away from him. This is fooling yourself, thinking that you can fool him. Again, seek union with the Lord first so that you'll be wise and not be foolish ever.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
When we first search for Christ, we need to use our head to learn as much as possible about him. Once we are intellectually convinced that he is the one worthy to be believed in, it's time to make the leap of faith and accept him as Lord and Savior. From this point on, we don't need to intellectualize anymore; we should just try to believe in him without question. Now, to make the most rapid spiritual progress, we need to switch from head to heart completely. It is the heart that can move the Lord's heart and capture him. Union with him would be impossible if you don't offer him your heart.
We may not hear a clock ticktocking or a drum beating in the background, but as sure as the sun will set, we are marching on our way to meet God, our maker and judge. Consider that to be an interview and it will be the most critical interview of your whole existence. Have you thought about the kind of questions you might be asked? What may you want to say to him? It's best to think about and prepare for all this as early as possible. If you put it off until the last minute, you may not have any time left at all. I am dead serious (while I am still alive).
I have always said that the fast track to making your life easy is to let God do all the work for you. Of course, I am not saying that you sit back and do nothing. What I mean is that you now submit yourself completely to God, trust him with everything, and let him guide you in all that you do. While resting in him, you'll find everything super easy to perform with no anxiety nor stress. It becomes God doing his work through you. By the way, this is how you become holy too.
Communion experience. Sometimes we cry out of joy or because we are sorrowful. We also tremble out of fear or when we feel overwhelmed and most grateful. Today after receiving Holy Communion, I trembled, feeling the latter way. So awesome that the perfect, infinite Lord should unite with the most imperfect, finite me. It's all real and miraculous!
Today I feel that pleading for mercy from God is most appropriate for us to approach him. It shows that we need him to save us from death and that we are completely at his mercy. Of course, we also know that he loves us and that he shall save us when we submit ourselves to him. All works out well.
The thought came to me during Mass. The Lord shed his own blood to save us! It is a monumental deal!
That's why for us, his blood is so precious. We even get to drink it during the liturgy of the Eucharist. You can't help feeling good that the Lord God should love us so much!
In today's first reading from 1 Samuel 17, we heard how David challenged Goliath. In those days, the Israelites went up against their enemies by fighting them physically with weapons. But Jesus had come and revealed himself to be love, demonstrating to us that we are to fight our enemies spiritually with love always. Love to be our weapon—a revolutionary idea, but ultimately the right solution. In the Gospel reading from Mark 1, Jesus cured a man with a withered hand on the sabbath. Again, he let love override the established rule and proceeded to do good by restoring the man's hand. Follow Jesus and you follow love.
Today is the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. At Mass we all recited this prayer to end abortion by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. Please join us by saying this prayer or any of your own. God bless you.
Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
I appreciate the fact that God had given me the free will so that I got to choose to follow him. Of course, the free will also allows me to choose not to sin against God, and I appreciate that as well. Once we are completely with the Lord, we don't need to exercise our free will anymore. So we can either retire it or give it back to God and remain in peace.
Monday, January 20, 2020
If heaven and hell are real, what about purgatory? If your body is not completely clean, you need to get into a shower to be washed clean. Now, if your soul is not completely pure, you need to go to a place called purgatory to get purified before entering heaven. Here is an 8-minute video to tell you a few things about purgatory.
It would be illogical to say that no matter how we live our lives, we would end up in heaven, and hell doesn't exist, and vice versa. If both good and evil are real, then both heaven and hell must exist. Listen to Fr. Mark Goring on this. Please, let's all aim for heaven.
[A footnote: I want to let all know the reality of hell because it's such a horrible place that I do not wish anyone to go there, not even for a minute, let alone for ever. Then I realize that when we tell others about hell, they might think we're trying to scare or judge them. So we must be careful and do it with love.]
Sunday, January 19, 2020
The Church is in bad shape. Many decades ago when I was traveling through Europe, I already noticed the mostly empty pews and absence of young people at Sunday Mass. Today the German Church has gone against church tradition. Ireland no longer prohibits abortion. The American Church is more in sympathy with the leftists who support abortion. Many countries seem to embrace LGBTQ people more than they do Christians, who are increasingly being persecuted around the globe. The Church is fractured now due to internal corruption, scandals, and the lack of clear teaching and leadership from the Holy Father. Overall Church membership is declining fast in this country. Local churches are not more than lukewarm, not a good place to be. Just maintaining the status quo is not good enough. We must become more vigilant and militant and go on attack if we ever wish to turn the tide. I can see that evil has infiltrated all levels of our society in the last half century or so, while we remained complacent. To win the spiritual battle, the Lord wants us to become holy foremost so that we may fight evil with great fire and zeal.
In today's Gospel reading from John 1, John the Baptist testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Earlier he spoke of Jesus as one who ranked ahead of him because he existed before him. This is interesting because we all know that John the Baptist was born some six months before Jesus. So if he knew that Jesus existed before him, it must be that Jesus had always existed before coming into the world.
While exercising on a treadmill at the gym early this morning, a Sunday preacher was giving a sermon on TV. He asked his audience to have perseverance. I started thinking that we were always told to do this, to do that, but never to surrender ourselves to God first. Surely we already know that we should believe in God more, love and forgive others, pray more often, persevere, etc., but where do we get the power? Now, if we can surrender ourselves to God first, then he will help me accomplish whatever we wish to accomplish via the power of the Holy Spirit. Without surrendering to God's will first, it's putting the cart before the horse. Think about it, or better yet, try it.
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Communion experience. In my college days before I found Christ, I can remember that my heart was always restless. Today after I received the Holy Eucharist, my spirit experienced an absolute stillness, thanks to Jesus. This is the Lord who can get us into heaven!
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 2, some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinner and tax collectors and asked his disciples why he ate with them. Jesus heard this and said to them, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners." Are we the righteous or sinners? Do we need Jesus? The fact is that we are all sinners and need him. It is interesting that those who believe that they are righteous and do not need Jesus are the ones who need to be saved the most, while the great saints always regard themselves to be the most wretched sinners before the Lord. Looking at our world realistically today, my assessment is that we need Jesus most desperately!
Let's get right to it: since our soul lives on forever, we cannot be happy until we get our eternity settled. Now, God is eternal, so if we can latch onto him, we should do fine. Fortunately, he loves us and desires that we spend all eternity with him. It all works out perfectly. Follow Christ the Savior and our issue is no more (for all eternity).
Friday, January 17, 2020
The center of Mass is of course Christ the Lord. Everything that happens at Mass should help us focus upon and not distract us away from him. I know that what I have to say will sound too strict or worse to many, and may even draw ire from some of you, but that's OK. It's to each his own.
- First, I'd like to see lectors prepare and practice their readings ahead of time. Too often the lector sounds robotic, enunciates poorly or speak not loud enough. What bugs me the most is that there is no pause between readings. When you are still reflecting on the first reading, the second reading starts already. A pause at least 15 seconds long would be nice.
- Personally, I don't find music that sounds more like pop music uplifting. It's difficult to say, but when you hear it, you know. Music can be nice, but not necessarily uplifting.
- There is a reason why in the older days the Church required that women cover their heads and not to bare shoulders, etc. You see, men are different from women. A man can easily be distracted (attracted) by a woman he sees. So, for all those who are servers at Mass, please dress appropriately in order not to distract anyone from the Lord. I'd like to mention that I personally feel uncomfortable when I see a female Eucharistic minister offering me the white consecrated host with fingers whose nails have all been painted a very dark or some deep red color, definitely a distraction.
- I don't need to hear the homilist telling jokes or making remarks just to amuse the people. They tend to take the focus off Jesus. Also, things extraneous such as singing Happy Birthday, etc. should be done outside Mass.
- Ideally, people should refrain from talking freely before and right after Mass. After Mass because after receiving the Lord, there might be those who'd like to remain in reverence for a while.
- Today when many Catholics don't even know or believe that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist, it would be appropriate to announce the requirements for receiving the Holy Eucharist at Mass from time to time, especially at Easter and Christmas times when submarine Catholics surface.
Communion experience. I was not receiving any ordinary food; I was receiving the living bread, the Lord God himself. This is the food that unites me to God my creator. This is the food that heals my soul. It is the food that promises life eternal! I felt gratified and elated. God always uplifts us when we rest in him.
It is not good enough to go near Christ to be close to him; you want to enter him to become one with him! It's not good enough to know that he is the Lord, you want him to be your Lord! It's not good enough to obey him 99.99% of the time, you need to obey him 100% of the time! The greatest commandment God gave us is to love him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. Would God, thinking that we are not good enough, say to us, "Stop trying to love me more, you''ll never make it"? Of course not! Would God think that we are good enough and say, "Stop loving me, you are already good enough for me"? I think not. What he wants us to realize is that on our own we cannot possibly succeed, but if we let him do it for us, nothing would be impossible, especially when we wish to do only his will.
Today is the Memorial of St. Anthony. The Gospel reading from Mark 2 tells the healing of a paralytic by our Lord. Four men brought the paralytic to see Jesus. Unable to get near him because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him and let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Child, your sins are forgiven." Some of the scribes present asked themselves, "He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?" Jesus immediately knew what they were thinking. To show that he has authority to forgive sins on earth, he said to the paralytic, "Rise, pickup your mat, and go home." He did as he was told in the sight of everyone.
I do not know the age of the paralytic. He could be older and not much younger than the Lord. Anyway, the fact that he called him "Child" strikes me that he was speaking to him as God. As always, Jesus knew what people were thinking or what they were going to do. I find great consolation in knowing that God knows all about me and all my thoughts. It would be terribly lonely to know that there is not a single soul out there who can fully understand you. Being aware that the Lord knows all about me guards me against losing my way. Furthermore, it keeps me on the path to becoming holy and more perfect.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from Mark, a leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean." The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Yes, the Lord only needs to will and it is done! But wait a second, there is a problem. Do you realize that we have the power to prevent God from completing his will by exercising our free will? See how we ignore him, defy him, or betray him all the time. Look at the politicians who claim that they are Catholic, but openly support abortion without shame. I now see life also as a testing ground for the Lord to find out whether we deserve to be his children in heaven or not.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Communion experience. The Lord entered me—God could not possibly be a mystery to me anymore. In fact, he had come into the world, becoming one of us so that we might know him as one of us. And he revealed all we needed to know about the Father, the Spirit, and how we can have life for all eternity. In union with us, he becomes one we know more intimately than anyone else! It turns out that he is also more exciting to know than all the mysteries there are!
Christianity is all about Christ. Therefore, we should zero in on him. He is everything and all things to us. Going peripherally about him is a waste of time; you won't get to know him well. We need to live in him, breathe him, be wide open to him to be fed, nurtured, shaped, and molded by him, and become one with him. Then we'll be like him, fulfilling his loving desire and satisfying all our inner thirst and hunger.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Communion experience. Relationship with anything or anyone in the world, no matter how enjoyable or intimate, can wane, grow tiresome, or become burdensome over time. With God, the deeper you enter him, the more you witness his beauty and splendor, and the more you fall in love with him.
Jesus said in Matthew 7.21: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." In other words, when we say "Lord, Lord," we must mean it, that he truly is our Lord and we obey him always. Otherwise, we are hypocrites.
If I want to enlarge my house, no problem. I could do the work myself or hire someone else. If I want to plant more trees in my yard, again no problem. If I want to grow more muscles, I can join a gym to work out. With most things, I can do something about it. As to my faith in God, it is different. I can try my hardest to force myself to believe in him more and that won't work. Only by the grace of God can my faith grow. In this sense, faith is a gift from God.
The above I blogged earlier. Then I thought about it. There is something we can do to increase our faith. Instead of trying hard, we simply relax ourselves and open up to God. With resistance out of the way, the Lord can increase our faith by drawing us close to him.
The above I blogged earlier. Then I thought about it. There is something we can do to increase our faith. Instead of trying hard, we simply relax ourselves and open up to God. With resistance out of the way, the Lord can increase our faith by drawing us close to him.
I hear too many prayers that begin with "May...." They sound timid, too polite, or even wishy-washy. I venture to say that the Lord would rather that we be bolder, more commanding, or more resolute, especially when we know we are following his will. I particularly remember Jesus' parable of the persistent widow from Luke 18, in which the dishonest judge eventually caved in to the demand of the widow who persistently pestered him. Remember that our Lord is our dearest Father.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 1, when a man with an unclean spirit saw Jesus, he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!" Jesus rebuked him and said, "Quiet! Come out of him!" The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out. I see the power of God's holiness at work here. When we become one with the Lord, this power makes us holy, and fearless, shielding us from all evil. Let's use this power in loving and evangelizing others too.
It is super easy to follow the flesh and not God. For example, I came across an interesting TV show with many episodes. After I watched the first episode, my flesh urged me to go on and watch the next one, while the Lord let me know that it's time for blogging. The voice of the Spirit is always gentle, so we must learn to discern and listen carefully. Our goal should be to obey the Lord in all things at all times; as John the Baptist, pointing to Jesus, said, "He must increase; I must decrease."
People look at someone who has become rich and famous and say that he has made it, but I don't necessarily agree. What if he won't make it to heaven? Besides, if the person others admire is not even holy, what does that say about them? Jesus came to give us life—not to make us rich and famous. Obviously, to have life is to have life for all eternity. Let's make it the right way, not according to the ways of the world.
Monday, January 13, 2020
Sometimes we sin and hurt ourselves only; at other times we sin and hurt others too. Then our sin can cause others to sin also or hurt them to the extent you can't possibly make amends, making you feel bad. Now, let's think fundamentally. Every time we sin, no matter what sin it is, what the cause was, and what its consequences are or will be, we hurt our Lord badly. Therefore, do not ever sin and you do not have to be concerned about all the implications of your sin.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Joy! Anyone filled with the Holy Spirit can't help being on fire with great zeal for the Lord God. Without the Holy Spirit, we would appear to be rather depressing or pitiable. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to submit yourself fully to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity. Anyway, whether it be the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit, it is total submission to God that sets you free. Anyone or anything other than God can only enslave us. This is the spiritual warfare we're involved in. Be filled with God and you are saved and safe. Otherwise, you are lost and lose.
Sunday, January 12, 2020
We are given a conscience by God, but that conscience gets muddy as we continue sinning, "trapped" in this secular world in which evil is real! To get our conscience cleansed and restored so that we can see clearly what's good and what's evil, we need to go to God from whom we received our conscience. A super sharp, clean conscience protects us from sinning, thus preserving our inner peace. The worst feeling is knowing that we have offended the One who loves us the most. Remain in union with the Lord is the best way to keep our conscience pristine.
Do you really love someone (yourself)? If you think only about getting a good education, finding a good job, having good health, making money, seeking material comfort . . . do you think you can make your loved one truly happy? I think you know the answer, but you still hope that you can, as you do not know anything better. This is the common situation I see. If you truly love someone, whether it be your father or mother, your brother or sister, your own son or daughter, your good friend or yourself, you would want that person to be truly happy forever! Eternity is real and earthly existence only transitory. To truly love someone is to make sure that the person (yourself) will be happy forever, not just to seek only pseudo happiness on this earth.
If Jesus bugs you in any way, it only shows that you are running away from him, that you need him, and that he is calling you. Solid proof: If you turn to him, go to him, become totally reconciled with him, you experience freedom, peace, and joy you never had before.
At Mass, after the Eucharist Prayer is said, the priest asks us to lift up our hearts, and we respond by saying "We lift them up to the Lord." It's easy to picture that I take my heart, place it in my hand, and offer it to God. Then I thought it'd be more "appropriate" to just let the Lord take my heart and do whatever he wishes with it. That is, our hearts belong to him now.
Today is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus asked John the Baptist to baptize him. Of course, he is all holy and didn't need to be baptized at all, so it impresses me greatly that he should want to be treated as one of us all sinners. (Later, he also washed the feet of his disciples.) He humbles me, making me love him even more.
Let's all remember that our goal is know God, to "capture" him, you might say. That is why we study Scriptures, listen to inspiring talks, read about the saints, meditate upon spiritual things, make our churches beautiful, etc. The risk is that we can become habitual in doing all these things and forget that we can go to the Lord directly for best results. Seriously, you can achieve union with God by opening up yourself entirely to him and through receiving the Holy Eucharist. Once you possess him (or is possessed by him), all other things become secondary. Always know that the means are not your end.
Saturday, January 11, 2020
I came across this YouTube video on Afghanistan. The country has been at war for many decades, causing so much suffering to its people. Those who have survived are still doing their best to eke out a living. I saw that the people did not even recognize the American flag, which lead me to believe that they did not really understand what's going on in the outside world. Anyhow, I see the Afghans as a beautiful people and am moved with compassion for them. Surely the Lord God loves them even more. They might not know Christ, but he will surely judge them fairly. If you have some 20 minutes, the video is worth watching.
I am aware of God's presence at all times, for he dwells within me. Then I am aware of it most acutely when I am half awake and half asleep in the very early morning hours when it's still all dark outside. I am fortunate to live in an area that's very quiet at night. The half asleep state allows me to tune out any disturbance that can possibly come up and the half awake state still allows me to be aware of God's inner presence in me. In those moments, I could sense the Lord hearing every word I utter from the innermost of my heart—it's so satisfying! It is important that we always find time and place to communicate with our Lord and God in private undisturbed.
Friday, January 10, 2020
Abandonment yourself to God is not easy because you know and trust yourself the best and do not know God well or at all. But once you realize that God is your loving Father who loves you with the greatest possible love, you begin to trust in him more and more. Eventually, you come to know that he understands you more than you understand yourself and that he is totally trustworthy. Finally, you fall deeply in love with him and are able to open yourself up completely to him. Now you are spiritually free, experiencing peace and joy. It proves what Jesus said in John 8.32: "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." To summarize, when you abandon yourself to God, you step aside to let God be your God. Now you understand both him and yourself perfectly, and you are free.
If you are drowning, you would want to grab onto something that does not sink. Yet, as sinners sinking toward hell, we do not readily grab onto Christ, the only one who can save us from sins. It would be tragic not to realize that our sins cause us to sink.
Can you imagine that you can play any game with God and win? No way—you'd be so foolish if you even think of trying. Yet this is exactly what many people are doing to God whether they realize it or not. They do not bother to believe in him, and at the same time they do not tell him why they do not believe in him either—they just ignore him as if he does not exist, adding insult to injury.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
The Gospel reading came from Mark 6. About the fourth watch of the night, the disciples of Jesus far out on the sea saw the Lord walking on the water toward them in the boat. They first thought it was a ghost and were terrified. But Jesus said to them, "Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!" These consoling, encouraging words we must always remember. If we believe that he is always with us, then we should never have to afraid of anything. If we are still afraid, then we are not perfect in love yet, as John the Apostle wrote in his 1st epistle (see my last post). The only fear we need to have is that we are not in the Lord.
I was struck most by the last verse of today's first reading from 1 John 4. That's verse 18: There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. It's so common sense. To be in love is to be in God, and of course you don't fear anything anymore when you are in God. Now, to be in God perfectly makes him to be one with you, so it is unthinkable that he would want to punish anyone in union with him. Anyway, you can be sure that in God you can achieve anything you want when your aim is to be perfect.